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Villagers seek land dispute intervention in capital

From left to right: Preah Vihear villagers Keo Maly, Ken Chantha, Phan Theoun and Tang Ngorm deliver a plea for intervention in Phnom Penh over a land dispute.
From left to right: Preah Vihear villagers Keo Maly, Ken Chantha, Phan Theoun and Tang Ngorm deliver a plea for intervention in Phnom Penh over a land dispute. Hong Menea

Villagers seek land dispute intervention in capital

Representatives of 253 families embroiled in a land dispute with government officials in Preah Vihear province yesterday came to Phnom Penh to seek intervention after being ignored by provincial authorities, they said.

Officials including CPP lawmaker Sous Yara and local authorities colluded to grab the villagers’ 3,353 hectares of land in 2010, according to Kan Ngem, the village chief of Svay Chrum, where the dispute is ongoing.

Officials say that the area is protected, but villagers, most of whom were forced to move out, suspect that this is a lie.

"[Yara] asked for my land; I do not know what he is going to do with it, but I replied that I cannot hand it to you since it’s not only my land but will affect 70 other families," said Ngem.

"After that, [Yara] said if you do not give it to me, you will not live peacefully."